How to Measure Leg Strength & Power in Physical Fitness
If you’re curious about how strong your leg muscles are, or you need a baseline against which to measure the progress of a new fitness program, you can use various methods to assess your strength and power. If you’re lifting weights with your legs, all you have to do is record how much weight you can raise. But if you’re starting a body-weight or plyometrics routine, for example, you might need another method to measure your progress.
Set up the testing course by placing three cones in a straight line. The first and second cone must be about 32 feet 9 3/4 inches apart, or 10 meters, while the second and third cones must be 82 feet apart, or 25 meters.
Warm up for 10 minutes, doing light aerobic exercises.
Stand next to the first cone, then jog to the second cone.
Start a stopwatch, or have an assistant do so, when you reach the second cone.
Hop on one leg from the second cone to the third. Stop the stopwatch when you reach the third cone, and record your time.
Repeat the test, but hop on the other leg. Record your time between the second and third cones.
Assess the results. For men, if you can hop from the second to the third cone in less than 4 seconds then your leg strength is excellent. If you finish in 4 to 6.1 seconds your leg strength is above average. A time of 6.2 to 7.9 seconds is average, 8 to 8.9 seconds is below average and 9 seconds or more is poor. For women, 4.5 seconds or less is excellent, 4.6 to 6.9 seconds is above average, 7 to 8.9 is average, 9 to 10 is below average and 10.1 or more is poor.
Wall Sit Test
Stand against a wall with your feet shoulder-width apart.
Lower into a sitting position as you press against the wall for support. Stop when your knees and hips both form right angles.
Start the stop watch, or have an assistant start the clock, as you lift one foot off the ground. Keep your foot in the air as long as possible, then stop the watch when you place your foot back on the floor.
Rest as long as you wish, then repeat the test with your other leg.
Assess your results. For men, holding your foot off the ground for more than 100 seconds is excellent compared to a person with average leg strength. If you keep your foot raised for 75 to 100 seconds you’re above average, 50 to 75 seconds is average, 25 to 50 is below average and less than 25 is very poor. For women, a time of more than 60 seconds means your leg strength is excellent, 45 to 60 is good, 35 to 45 average, 20 to 35 below average and less than 20 is very poor.
Both tests place some pressure on your leg joints. Make sure your joints can handle the stress before you try either test.
M.L. Rose has worked as a print and online journalist for more than 20 years. He has contributed to a variety of national and local publications, specializing in sports writing. Rose holds a B.A. in communications.